Valley Drought 2014: Help For Hard Hit Towns

The Valley Drought 2014 is so severe some communities face the real possibility of running out of water. To stop several communities from going dry, the Federal Government is stepping in.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation asked the Fresno Irrigation District to save water for the towns of Friant, Orange Cove, Lindsay, Strathmore and Terra Bella.

"We're going to have team up together if we want Orange Cove to be here in the future for my grandchildren, your grandchildren and the community," says Orange Grove City Councilman Victor Lopez.

Orange Cove uses a lot of water to grow oranges. The town goes through almost 2-million gallons of water everyday. The Friant-Kern Canal is the town's source of water but due to the drought it will not receive water allocations from the state this year. To help the Federal Government is now asking the Fresno Irrigation District to put water aside.

"This is historic," says Fresno Irrigation District General Manager Gary Serrato, "We've never really done this before but we have the mechanisms and the means to be able to."

The Fresno County town is conserving water. Starting on Thursday people who live in Orange Cove will not be allowed to water their lawns. If they do the first time they're caught, they'll get a warning. The second time they'll get a $100 ticket.

"This is something important for our community to understand, that we don't have the water to be wasting," says Orange Cove City Manager Sam Escobar, "The council has enforced this ordinance and the residents have to abide by it."

Orange Cove is also voting on Thursday to increase water rates. The money would go towards upgrading the town's water, sewer and waste water system. City leaders say they're trying to be pro-active just in case the drought continues for years.